Special Message from IHP 31JUL20: COVID-19 #14

A special message on NY State and COVID-19,
from the Island Community Board and Island Health Project, #14

August 1, 2020

Dear fellow Fishers Islanders,

With your help, the Island has – so far – weathered the pandemic without major issues or tragedies. We have had nine COVID-19 positive cases this year, including one very recently, and eight of the nine are all either recovered or later tested negative. We do have symptomatic individuals under observation, and our contact tracing protocol is active and working.

Thank you all for how seriously you have taken our summer 2020 protocol, “ENROLL-TEST-CHECK-PROTECT.”  The August 1 date, when houses typically change over to other family members or renters, is now upon us. It’s up to all residents and visitors to be sure this goes smoothly and we all stay healthy.  If you are reading this letter and preparing to come to the Island for this first time this August, the first part of the message below is especially for you. If you have been on the Island this summer or even spring, please pay special attention to the second part of the letter.

For new seasonal arrivals:

  • We have updated our Summer 2020 COVID-19 Info and FAQ, a document originally published in June. This third version features updates in red so that changes are easy to spot. It includes the new, handy Easy DIY Instructions for Summer 2020 Arrival that spell out what to do to get enrolled and tested. This version of the FAQ references our progress in obtaining on-Island COVID testing abilities for those who need it. Please see the full document at the link above, and see if it answers your questions before you call our busy office.
  • It’s our duty to remind you that New York State is now requiring arrivals from 36 hotspot states to quarantine at home upon arrival, due to heightened rates of infection in those states.  We don’t make the rules, but we do expect you all to follow them for the safety of our community.  Check the latest guidance here.
  • Whether you are coming from near or far, remember that you must not attend social or family gatherings on the Island outside your home until you either receive a negative test result (if coming from a non-hotspot state) or quarantine for 14 days (if you come from a hotspot state).  There is no exception to the 14-day rule if you are from one of the states on the NY list. If you do not follow this protocol you may be putting others at risk and you could be fined. After testing negative or completing quarantine, please continue to be vigilant and follow all protocols while enjoying summer activities.

For year-round and seasonal residents who have been here for some time already:

  • We are concerned that some members of the community were either never tested or were tested quite some time ago and cannot be certain they are virus free and not asymptomatic carriers. Therefore, now that we have more testing ability here on the Island, we are planning a Re-Testing program for certain groups that may be at risk or untested for a long time.
  • The IHP will be analyzing the data we have on file from Census participants to target specific groups we feel would benefit from re-testing on the Island. We may reach out to you directly. For example, we may be contacting:
    • Those whose last recorded test results are more than [two months] old
    • Those who come and go on weekends
    • Young adult professionals who are highly social or come and go
    • You can also voluntarily contact IHP for re-testing, especially if you live with older or more vulnerable individuals and see a need (just call the office and leave a message)

Please be aware that with the change in population from July to August, we are very likely to see new infections. If you have been here for a while, be very careful about expanding your cohorts. If you have just arrived, show restraint for a while, please, as you may be unwittingly carrying the virus to Fishers Island.

Wearing a mask, isolating when waiting for test results, and reporting symptoms truthfully are what you owe to your fellow citizens. So many COVID carriers are asymptomatic that we cannot be too careful. For evidence of how important the mask-wearing can be see this illustration:

Please don’t let down your guard. Please cheerfully follow IHP, state, club, retail, and other guidelines – all of them help us mitigate risk. A New York Times editorial by Aaron Carroll this Tuesday said it well: “With testing, just as with masks, more is sometimes better than perfect.”

Yours in health,

Dr. Christopher Ingram
Physician in Residence, Fishers Island

P.S. As always, do not hesitate to call or text me at 917-903-3516 if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need medical advice. If you have census or contact tracing questions email FICOVID@FIIHP.NET (this goes to the database/contact tracing team). To reach the Island Health Project (IHP) office and leave a message call 631-788-7244 or email dianna.shillo@lmhosp.org.

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